“This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of Gd, blessed the Israelites before his death….” Deuteronomy 33:1.
Sometimes the elderly seem to stand in the way between us and progress. But more often than many of us recognize, the elders have a blessing we desperately need.
All I wanted to do was open a bottle – the kind that didn’t have a “twist-off top”. I went to the drawer where we keep our silverware looking for a can opener. I know there is one in there, but our silverware drawer is like an overcrowded tenement … And then I remembered …
We live in the home my wife’s grandparents lived in and brought up their family in. Back in the day when soda came in glass bottles with tops you needed an opener for, Grandpa McKenzie screwed in a Coca-Cola bottle opener just inside the door going down to the cellar. I can imagine my mother-in-law and her siblings getting a cold soda on a hot summer day and going for that opener – never lost in any confusion, never mixed in with a thousand other hand-held devices we seem to need in order to get food from the can to the plate to our mouth. Maybe Grandpa used this opener for an occasional bottle of beer back in the day.
I took my bottle to the cellar stairway and with one simple motion the lid popped off. It’s a very different feel opening a bottle this way than unscrewing a plastic top off a plastic bottle. I think I had lived in this house a full three years before I discovered that opener fastened to the wall. Every time I use it I think of Gerry and Mildred McKenzie and the family they raised and the friends they had and the business they ran – a business christened by faith in God and love for their community. And then it’s a short leap for me to reflect for an instant on my own parents and relatives.
Blessings to those folks distant in time from us. Blessings to those who loved and labored without ever knowing the benefits they were bestowing. Blessings to those who encourage us to hang on to some tradition or practice that might seem out of sorts with this post-modern age – not because the tradition in itself needs to be canonized, but because it helps us get the job done simply and effortlessly.
Blessings to those who have prepared the way for us so that we can prepare something savory and beautiful for the generations to come.